When Marshall was 6 years old, we were in a park on one of those many one-off play dates. He hadn’t been diagnosed yet with Asperger’s/ASD, but social things were just not working.
I was standing there, talking to this mother from preschool while Marshall played on his own. A curly-headed little girl, about four years old, walked up to us. She looked up at me and said, “Do you trust God?” Put on the spot, I said, “I try.” And she responded, “I trust God with all my heart,” and walked away.
Well, even back then I’d learned to pay attention to such events, especially when they involved children and God. But it didn’t make me trust God right away. It just reminded me that I had an issue God and this little girl were aware of.
In fact, all my life I have hesitated to trust God. Even when I have heard or felt a message, like “leave this place and go to the next,” like Sarah and Abraham did, I have stood around thinking about it, and refused to decide at all. So I have ended up a spiritual nomad.
I can see now that my image of God was all wrong. My gut feeling was that my best interest was second to God’s. The image of God as Father left me with too few harbors to go for emotional safety. Father God would send me out to sea, endlessly, on some errand of his own design, like he did Jonah.
So I created my harbor in choices which felt safe: not leaving, not taking opportunities, or even not saying a hard, “No.”
With new glimpses of God as Mother, I understand now what the little girl at the park did. I understand how deeply God wants to delight me. How She generously gives opportunities I can grow from, and provides support along the way. She wants me to set sail, but with a strong boat and companions on the way.
I have learned this by the repeated connecting of my own mothering with God’s. What wouldn’t I do to give my own sons a beautiful life? Oh, and ah. This is how God hovers over me, longing and working to create beauty and safety for me. But paradoxically, the safety in life is found in trust, the kind that says, “Yes” and “I will go.”
I wish I’d learned this long ago, but I am grateful to be learning it now. Mother God is a giver, not a taker. Just like the Holy Spirit, the giver of all good gifts (Gal. 5:22-23).